The Tindall family were major contributors to the maritime history of Scarborough. A University student could usefully produce a thesis on the family. We can only offer a preliminary glance. There is a story that John son of John Tindall of North Grimston was an officer in Scarborough castle in the Civil War and married a shipbuilder's daughter. His second son William was born in 1650, appeared in Scarborough records in 1679 and was a ship builder in 1682.
A local tradition claimed that the earliest Scarborough ship -builders were the brothers John and James Cockerill. One account says that their launch ways adjoined Smithy hill. Another report claimed that Cockerill's ship yard was next to the pier. An ocean going vessel is said to have been built by one of the Cockerills, costing £1200, in 1685. John was Scarborough churchwarden in 1673. James was Scarborough bailiff in 1688 and in 1690 lived at Paradise house, one of the best houses in the town. At Hackness in 1690, they recorded:
"wood taken down in the last year for building a man of war at Scarborough"
The published "Tindall Story" claims that William Tindall came from North Grimston 1672-79 to marry a Cockerill daughter and succeeded John Cockerill in the house which was later 51, 51a, and 52 Sandside. The three formed one building, later called Ivy House, with fine seventeenth century oak panelling in four rooms. William Tindall and his wife paid rates and rents in the Under cliff or harbour-side quarter during 1691-1698 . The suggestion has been made that William Tindall was an apprentice to Cockerill and took over his yard before 1700. It may be so. By 1691, William Tindall had an interest at Smiddy Hill. A William son of William Tindall appears in the burial register 11.3.1693. A Mr. William Tindall was buried 28.10.1715.
Before William Tindall died in c1713, the shipyard passed to his nephew James Tindall by a procedure known as "donum inter vivos". James Tindall was born in 1688. He married another shipbuilder's daughter, Ann Hall. Some at least of the Tindall's ships were built at Smiddy Hill but the 1720 Kings Rent Book states that he had two building places. The 1735 Rental of Town lands also has James Tindall paying £2.10s for two building places. James Tindall ran the yard till his death in 1748. William's other son John Tindall was a master mariner and ship owner, who lived at Ivy house and was known as "gentleman John". He was mentioned as "master of a ship" in 1730.
Some early ship construction and repair took place at Scarborough harbour side sites called the "hills". The word should not be interpreted to mean anything gigantic. A hill name in Pickering's medieval Maltongate field is barely discoverable today, a very gentle rise, no doubt best known to the plough beasts of those times. The Scarborough shore hills were perhaps as gradual. They served to pull a boat upon them. Ships were built on stocks, which were wood blocks set at intervals on which the keel was laid, the blocks set on a slipway of timber sloped towards the tidal water. A Scarborough "Boathill" occurs in the 15th century and was used for making repairs.
What made the "hills" is unknown. They might be geological, a hard underlying bed or even remnants of an earlier cliff line. They could conceivably be remains of earlier harbour works or even the tannery, saltings and shore side houses known to have been destroyed by the sea, in early centuries Robert Hudson had Mast house hill and part of Sand hill and Christopher Harrison owned the rest of Sand hill before 1634. Mastus hill, Smiddy hill and Sand hill, at some later dates, took their occupier's names, and were known as Bilbrough ,Fowler, Cooper and Tindall hills Sand hill was south of the western house garths of Quay street .The "Mastus" or Mast house could have been a workshop and store, or a house made from old masts.
Several ship and boat builders were active at Scarborough when the Tindalls arrived. There was much inter marriage between them. George Cockerell married Mary Tindall. Joshua Sollitt married Thomasin a daughter of William Tindall in 1694. William Allotson is said to have married another daughter of John Cockerill. It is a perhaps a mistake to speak of their holdings as "shipyards " as they do not appear to have been fenced off.
Richard Bilbrough conveyed the messuage where Bilbrough lived, in Quay street with the garth, outhouses and a "hill or sea cliff called Sand hill" to Richard Allotson master mariner, sometime after 1682 . Richard Allotson was a boat builder and up to 1688 owned that part of Sand hill adjoining Smithy hill . During 1690,Richard Allotson master mariner conveyed this to William Coulson shipwright described as a "messuage, garth on the backside, outhouses and a "hill or sea cliff called the Sand hill, before the south door of the messuage in Quay Street", late possessions of Richard Bilbrough senior, gentleman. .Bilbrough Hill is marked south of the area in a map of 1725.
Robert Child was seized of part of Smiddy Hill, apparently staked out, in 1689, when there was a Corporation order to dispossess him. The Bailiffs and burgesses made a fresh grant to Robert Maxwell in 1691 of Smiddy Hill, lately occupied by Francis and William Coulson , to build ships. The Corporation leased "Mastus garth", bounding to Smiddy Hill , that year, to Mr. Dickinson and William Tindall.
A Corporation order of 3.7. 1693 required Robert Dickinson ,Coroner Batty, John Cockerill and Richard Allatson to stake and bounder out part of Smiddy Hill for fishing cobles to lay on in safety.The Corporation required in 1697 that manure dug and rubbish laid on Smiddy hill and on all the Staithes from Mr. Porritts to the great pier was to be moved and none to lay there in future. They were to throw rubbish over the new pier or take it to the" sand stoop".
A Committee to draft a Parliamentary bill for harbour improvement met in 1730, including Thomas Cockerill, Culmer Cockerill, Henry Cottrell, Thomas Coulson, Benjamin Fowler, John Harrison, John Hebden, William Maling, Timothy Otbie, and James Tindall. This led to the passing of the Scarborough harbour Act of Parliament in 1731, the refinancing ot the harbour by a levy on the coal trade, and the enlargement of the harbour with a new pier, built under the supervision of professional engineers.
John Settrington's print showing Scarborough in 1735 portrayed three ships being built and marked places for two more. The yards were still confined within the harbour piers. The piers gave them a measure of protection from the ocean. In stormy weather, although masts were sometimes washed southwards and retrieved from the shores at Gristhorpe. One Scarborough man. William Coulson moved to begin a new ship yard, within the Whitby inner harbour, at the foot of Green Lane beyond Spital bridge, sometime about 1730.
Master shipwright, John Tindall drafted a will on 26.3.1733. He gave the "message I live in" for life to his wife and then to his son James, along with half the ship "Fortitude", the other half going directly to James. He was principal owner of another ship of which John Willis was master. James was to have the direction of the ship. Another son John was given half the vessel "the Rose in June", with the stock of timber and plank and £50. Daughters Ann and Hannah had £100 each, daughter Jane £2000, sons William and Robert £250 each. These were very considerable sums for the time.
Ship and boat building, with associated craft workshops and timber stands stretched from the east pier, to West Sandgate, and eventually spread beyond towards the foot of Bland's cliff. Captain Buckley quotes an undated document describing the activity from west to east, starting at the west side of West Sandgate Here was of J Skeltons boat yard but eventually three ship building places were opened further west, including John Shore's in front of Henderson's cliff. Buckley's list placed "Hewards stocks" opposite the old Long Room then going eastwards, William Henry's yard ,Sedgfield Dale's yard, (later his nephew George Smith); Tindalls hill shipyard; Hopper's block and mast shop; John Fowlers yard at Fowlers hill, Smiths boat builders yard, and Stephen Wharton's yard, stocks, block shop, mast and timber yard and metal shops.
We are on safer ground with a Corporation rental showing the many structures on the sands in 1791. At that time there was an associated "plan in hall" but this is not apparently extant. This document was "approved by vote 15.6.1791".The list goes from west to east. The phrase "building place" means a place for building ships.
Rents of Building places, yards, erections on the sands 1791,moving west to eastOwner Occupier-Part of timber yard. Corporation John Hopper 2s6d
-Warehouse Major Child 1s
-Warehouse Dickinson & Dewsbury 1s
-Warehouse George Hopper 1s
-Building Mrs. Mary Howson 1s
-Building Mrs. Elizabeth Kirby 6d
-Encroachment. Anthony Ruston.6d
-Building & warehouse Mr. Otby Collector of Customs 6d
-Plank stage George Masterman Sam Ombler 9d
-Stage,opposite R Keld's Corporation Anthony Nessfield. 1d
-Encroachment Corporation William Pattison 1?
-Building place Corporation Jonas Sutton. 5d
-Building place(W of W. Sandgate).Corporation Benjamin Heward. 5d
-Building place Corporation James Heward 15s
-Mast Yard (W of E. Sandgate).Corporation George Johnson.4s
-Building place & shed. Corporation Benj Adamson.12s
-Building place Corporation George Dale 15s
(from E. Sandgate to opposite the west wall of the Towns Hall)-Timber yard John Tindall £2.20(from east side of last, 52ft east)
-Building place,John Tindall(from east end of Mr Robert Duesbery's house to west wall of Mr. Wharton's house.)
-Shed Corporation.Thomas Wharton. 7s 6d
-Building place Corporation George Moorsome £1 5s(opposite Mr.Francis Coulson's)(from west side Mr. Wharton to Mr.Hopperton)
-Stage(below his house) John Hopper 7s 6d
-Encroachment into harbour, below house of John Smith. Corporation John Smith 7s 6d
-Plank stage.George Moorsome 6s(adjoining the hill.Thomas Wharton)
-Stage and building place Corporation Thos Wharton( 15s)
-Stage and shed on it. Corporation Skelton Fowler. 7s
-Stage. Corporation Skelton Fowler 6s 6d
-Mast Yard. Corporation John Hopper. 10s
-Mast Yard Corporation Thomas Wharton. 10s
-Erection for building boats (Corporation Mr. Newham. 1s
From 1755 to 1807 , the Tindall yard produced the largest number of ships built in Scarborough.. James Tindall died in 1748, and the yard passed to his son John. The boy had his portrait painted as a child holding a hatchet and a trindle .He is supposed to have been known as "John of the Hatchet". John Tindall the elder (1722-73) married Jane Dowker of the Salton gentry family in 1745. They are said to have bought and lived in the King Richard III house Sandside, which also served as an office Plans show the stems of ships being built on the sands reaching towards the house. Their ten children were born there; James ( who married Mary Jewson and was later a Colonel of Volunteers, John (1755), William (1762, who died at Yorktown in 1781), Robert (1764), Ann (1747), Hannah (175- ,who married the minister Samuel Bottomley in 1776) and Jane (1760, who married John Thornton in 1781.)When Robert Tindall was born in 1764, there were ten gallonsof gin at the bed head for visitors.
cash or bills in drawer £200
freight for "Fortitude" £133.17.4 & £5.16.6
balance of James Tindalls account £490.7.3
half of "Rose in June" and stock £540.
Ship "Fortitude Success" sold to James £1650
53/64ths of that ship valued by Thomas Beswick £1457.10.0
£2000 of bank annuity £1820
Timber,plank,trunnels and all utensils valued by John Garnett & Mr. George Moorsome £590
Hold of ship "Ocean" sold to James Tindall. for £1400
Cash from, Smiths,Sam Hebden,Will March,which JKT has repaid when he bought the ship £80
Household furniture assessed by William Simpson £200Sum £8630.8.8
Debts owing £925.13.5.
Net £7704 15.3
The shipyard was transferred from the elder John Tindall to the younger John in 1771, when he was only sixteen. The elder son James was a master mariner. The father died on 19.6.1773. The son launched 110 ships in the years 1771-1807, of which the largest was 500 tons. At the age of 25, he fell for Isabella Mackiver, who was the fiance of one Francis Grey, an employee on the Tindall ship "Ocean", until he was persuaded otherwise. John's mother opposed the marriage and took to her bed to register her opposition but she lost the battle. The family records include a letter to Mr Alexander & Isabella MacKiver, of Cross St, Scarborough in 1762. There is the young Isabella's arithmetic book when attending Hornsey's school at King Street in 1774. The five volumes of her adult memoirs are heavily religious. She corresponded with John Wesley.
Bills of 1770 reflect the domestic life. Mr John Tindall paid John Nichols on January 3rd, 2s6d for a pair of shoes for his son William, and 4s6d for a pair of everlasting pumps for his daughter Nancy .There was a toast rack for ten shillings. John was remembered as "a considerate man who could not bear to discharge his workmen", when orders were down at the shipyard. About 1781 the Tindalls moved to live at 75 Long Westgate,Scarborough. The accounts of the son Robert Tindall (1764-1828) for March 1793 show something of the young gentleman's life. Here were his coffee house subscription 5s; to Estill for a hat 19s, shoes 7s, journey to London £4.15.s, window tax 8s. The next year 1794 he bought cloth at Seamer fair £2.8.6, a hat for £1.3s.0, stockings £1, bucket 8s6d, two weeks pay for servant Sedman 6s, and paid to Hodge for hair dressings £1.18.11. In 1800 John Tindall bought Knapton Hall.
1767 Fortitudes Success brigantine 209
1772. Meanwell brigantine 122
1775 Oceanship 292
1775 Happy meeting brigantine 127
1777 Ebenezer briganteen 83
1778 Diligence brigantine 711778 Providence increase brigantine 108
1782 Felicity snow 173
1784 Fortitiude ship 329?
1785 Ruby briganteen 104
1785 Sea Nymph briganteen 176
1786 Olive Branchsnow 182
1786 Providence brigantine 155
1786 Meanwell snow 201?
1786 Johns ship 286
1787 Dove brigantine 217
1788 Providence briganteen 184
1788 Mary snow 250
1789? Swan ship 290
1790 Providence goodwill. briganteen 130
1790 Aurora briganteen 92
1791 Hopeship 316
1791 London briganteen 78
1792 Regard briganteen 134
1792 Friends briganteen 103
1792 Supply briganteen 222
1793 Symmetry ship 335
1793 Eager? ship 281
1793 Eager briganteen 136
1794 Providence Success. briganteen234
1794 Fidelity briganteen 208
1795 Satisfaction briganteen 206
1795 Rebecca briganteen 150
1795 Lark briganteen 148
1795 Unity's successship 201
1796 Providence success briganteen 212
1796 Pearl briganteen 230
1796 Vine snow 218
1797 Three Sisters snow 209
1797 Peaceship 236
1797 Thames briganteen 149
1797 Grace briganteen 108
1798 Friends Regard ? briganteen 172
1799 Royalist ship 301
1799 Fortitude ship 403
1799 Good intent briganteen 107 ?
1799? Concord ship 317
1800 Juno ship356
1800 Europe ship 423
1800 Emery snow 162
1800 Ann snow 201
1801 Cornellian briganteen-
1801 Friendship snow 213
1802 Providence & Hannah. snow 148
1802 Equity briganteen 105
1802 Spring sloop 64
1802 Jane briganteen 239
1802 Good intent briganteen 98